they used to call it. As if not saying
moisturiser, might save a fragile man
from the embarrassment of vanity.
Branded stark, in black & white,
bold graphic strokes swirled around
the name, suggestive of the elixir inside.
Not yet employed, I liked to own a hint
of style, shored up tubes of comfort,
in rows next to the bathroom window.
Ready to be leisurely admired alongside
my as yet unlined skin, before it emerged
back into the world each morning.
Now every hurried mirror glimpse
is filled with vapour trails. Criss-cross
tales, debossed on the grey sky of face
– and I doubt that preparation ever
really worked, but at the time,
it felt like something.